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Home > Disease > Celiac Disease - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Celiac Disease - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Celiac Disease - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Overview of Celiac disease

Celiac disease is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that can damage your small intestine. People with celiac disease might experience symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, gas, anemia and growth issues. Celiac disease is triggered by a protein called gluten. Gluten can be found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Changing your diet to avoid gluten can sometimes relieve your symptoms.

What is Celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a serious immune-mediated disorder that may affect the digestive and multiple organs. The condition is triggered by gluten, which is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye.

Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) – What’s the Difference

Celiac disease causes damage to the small intestine. By identifying specific markers in the blood, a diagnosis can be confirmed with more ease. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity - also known as NCGS - is not as easily diagnosed due to the lack of any specific markers in the blood, and needs improvement of symptoms after following a diet without gluten.

Celiac Disease Symptoms

Celiac disease symptoms can vary greatly, and a person may experience a number of intermittent symptoms. You can experience other symptoms, such as digestive issues, if you have celiac disease. Children have digestive issues more frequently than adults do. Celiac disease's digestive symptoms can include

Celiac Disease Symptoms in Adults

If you mistakenly consume something that includes gluten and have celiac disease, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia
  • Bloating or a feeling of fullness
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Itchy, blistery rash
  • Headaches or fatigue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Nausea
  • Nervous system injury
  • Poop that’s pale
  • Weight loss

Celiac Disease Symptoms in Children

The following digestive issues are more prevalent in children with celiac disease:

  • Bloating or belly swelling
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale, foul-smelling poop
  • Upset stomach or vomiting
  • Weight loss

Among the issues that a child may have if celiac disease prevents their body from getting the nutrients they require are:

  • Anemia
  • Damaged tooth enamel
  • Delayed puberty
  • Failure to thrive, in infants
  • Crankiness or mood changes
  • Neurological problems
  • Slow growth and short height

Who is at risk for celiac disease?

Gluten intolerance runs in families. If a person's parent or sibling has celiac disease, they have a one in 22 risk of also getting it, according to the research.

The likelihood of developing celiac disease is also increased in those with other autoimmune diseases and specific genetic conditions. The following are a few ailments connected to celiac disease:

What are the causes of celiac disease?

The immune system of the body is typically created to defend it against forein invaders. Gluten-containing foods cause the immune systems of persons with celiac disease to attack the lining of the intestine. This inflames (swells) the intestines and kills the villi, the hair-like structures that line the small intestine. The villi take in nutrients from meals. No matter how much food a person eats, if the villi are injured, they cannot absorb nutrients and become malnourished.

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

Your healthcare professional will do a thorough physical examination and talk with you about your medical history if they suspect you may have celiac disease. To determine the level of gluten-antibodies, the doctor may also perform a blood test. Certain antibodies are seen in greater concentrations in the blood of people with celiac disease. It may occasionally be essential to have a blood test for celiac disease.

Other tests, such a blood test to check iron levels, may be carried out by your doctor to check for nutritional deficiencies. With celiac disease, there may be an iron deficiency, which can lead to anaemia.

To check for villi damage, your doctor could take a biopsy from your small intestine. An endoscope (a short, hollow tube) is inserted via your mouth into your small intestine during a biopsy in order to collect a sample of the intestine. To prevent any pain during the treatment, sedation or anaesthetic is used.

In order to support a diagnosis, doctors will also carry out a number of tests. Anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTGA) and anti-endomysium (EMA) antibodies are frequently found in high concentrations in celiac disease patients. Blood tests can be used to find these. When tests are run when gluten is still present in the diet, they are most accurate.

Common blood tests include:

Treatment for celiac disease

You can't consume anything with gluten if you have celiac disease (including wheat, rye and barley). For formal diet guidance, you will be urged to see a dietician. Usually, eliminating gluten from your diet helps the condition within a few days and gradually gets rid of the disease's symptoms. The villi, however, typically take months to years to fully heal. Adults may need two to three years to mend their intestines, whereas children only need approximately six months.

You will require ongoing medical monitoring and be required to maintain this diet for the remainder of your life (typically at 3 months, 6 months, and then every year). Even a small amount of gluten can harm your intestine and cause the issue to recur.

You cannot eat several "staples," such as pasta, cereals, and many processed items that contain gluten, if you follow a gluten-free diet. Additionally, some medicines and additives added to food to enhance flavour or texture may contain gluten. Ice cream and salad dressing are two less obvious sources of gluten. Another frequent source of gluten is cross-contamination, which occurs when gluten-free items unintentionally come into contact with gluten.

You can still eat a healthy diet even if you have celiac disease. For instance, it is possible to find pasta and bread produced from other types of flour, such as potato, rice, maize, or soy. Additionally, several grocery stores and food firms sell bread and other items that are gluten-free.

Additionally, since these foods don't contain gluten, you can consume fresh meals that haven't been artificially processed, such fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood.

Complications of Celiac disease

Untreated, celiac disease can cause:

  • Malnutrition: If your small intestine can't absorb enough nutrition, this happens. Anemia and weight loss can result from malnutrition. Malnutrition in children can result in small height and sluggish growth.
  • Bone weakening: Inadequate absorption of calcium and vitamin D can cause osteomalacia, or rickets in children, and osteoporosis, or a decrease of bone density, in adults.
  • Infertility and miscarriage: Obstacles to reproduction can be exacerbated by vitamin D and calcium malabsorption.
  • Lactose intolerance: You may get diarrhea and abdominal pain after consuming lactose-containing dairy products if your small intestine has been damaged. You might be able to once again accept dairy products after your intestines have healed.
  • Cancer: Intestinal lymphoma and small bowel cancer are two cancers that are more likely to occur in people with celiac disease who don't follow a gluten-free diet.
  • Nervous system problems: Seizures or a condition affecting the hands and feet's nerves are just a few of the issues that some people with celiac disease can experience (peripheral neuropathy).

Diet for Celiac Disease

It's challenging to keep up a gluten-free diet. Thankfully, several businesses are now producing gluten-free goods, which can be discovered at numerous supermarkets and specialist food shops. These products will be labelled as "gluten-free."

Knowing which foods are safe if you have celiac disease is crucial. Here are some dietary recommendations to help you decide what to eat and what to avoid.

Foods to Avoid in Celiac Disease

  • wheat
  • spelt
  • rye
  • barley
  • triticale
  • bulgur
  • durum
  • farina
  • graham flour
  • semolina

Foods to Avoid in Celiac Disease unless the label says gluten-free:

  • beer
  • bread
  • cakes and pies
  • candy
  • cereals
  • cookies
  • crackers
  • croutons
  • gravies
  • imitation meats or seafood
  • oats
  • pasta
  • processed lunch meats, sausages, and hot dogs
  • salad dressings
  • sauces (includes soy sauce)
  • self-basting poultry
  • soups

Foods To Eat in celiac disease

  • buckwheat
  • corn
  • amaranth
  • arrowroot
  • cornmeal
  • flour made from rice, soy, corn, potatoes, or beans
  • pure corn tortillas
  • quinoa
  • rice
  • tapioca

Healthy, gluten-free foods include:

  • fresh meats, fish, and poultry that haven’t been breaded, coated, or marinated
  • fruit
  • most dairy products
  • starchy vegetables like peas, potatoes, including sweet potatoes, and corn
  • rice, beans, and lentils
  • vegetables
  • wine, distilled liquors, ciders, and spirits

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